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Your Well-Being is our #1 Priority

Donna Rubin and Jen Lobo opened BYNYC nearly 18 years ago with the goal of improving the overall well-being of New Yorkers. As the first boutique fitness studio in NYC there was no roadmap for how to manage a studio so in the beginning our policies, guidelines and etiquette came about on an as-needed basis.

As a studio that specializes in classes that take place in warm and humid environments, managing the heat, airflow and humidity took on huge importance when the Midtown studio opened in August 1999. While managing those aspects of a room’s environment are pretty straight forward with the technologies available to us, students have always been a variable we can’t anticipate.

We take pride in the fact that each BYNYC instructor is CPR certified, that we have ongoing continuing education, that we communicate and meet regularly, with student safety frequently discussed. On that note, as we move into Summer ’17, our instructors are taking on a greater role as it relates to the observable conditions of our students.

Observable Condition

Since opening we’ve said “if you’re feeling dizzy or nauseas, please sit or lie down until you’re feeling better.” Today, we’re taking that policy a step further. For your overall safety and well-being, our instructors have been requested to ask students to step outside to cool their bodies down if they appear unwell. If you appear to be struggling or otherwise not participating in class,  you may be asked to leave temporarily in order to recuperate. Please sit right outside the door so the teacher can keep an eye on you. When you’re feeling better, at the teacher’s discretion you may come back in join the class.

Participation vs Non-Participation

We want to be clear that being asked to step outside the classroom is not punishment, it’s simply a condition that our instructors are able to observe. We highly encourage you to take a break if you are not feeling well. Taking a break is a signal to you, and us, that you need to slow down a bit and rest.

Sometimes as a practitioner, you may think that you are OK or WILL be OK, but the instructor is trained to look out for signs that may indicate otherwise.  Here are some things to look out for:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Cramping
  • Headache
  • Light-headedness
  • Feeling Dehydrated
  • Any numbness of limbs
  • Loss of color

Being Prepared

There are ways to insure you have the best possible experience in a class with us and we encourage you to include these activities as part of a regular life pattern, as their benefits go well beyond our studio walls:

  • Hydration – Being properly hydrated heading into a class in a warm and humid environment where you’ll be sweating is more than just drinking water. Pre and post class replenishment of electrolytes is critical.
  • Meals – We do not recommend taking class on a completely empty stomach, or if it’s been greater than 7 hours since a meal. We recommend foods that are hydrating 1-2 hours before class such as watermelon, grapes or cantaloupe.
  • Rest – Anyone will tell you that sleep and overall rest are key to clarity of mind and physical performance. If you don’t feel properly rested, we recommend skipping class and coming to visit when you are.
  • Injuries – Before each class our instructors ask the room if anyone has an injury they should know about, and for good reason. Please share this with your instructor privately in the lobby or when asked before class.
  • Stress – Try to be self-aware if you have a high level of stress walking in to a class. Stress has a high impact on your hormones and can effect your performance in class. Try to arrive early and take a 10 minute savasana.
  • Apparel – Wearing the appropriate amount of breathable fabric will help your body self-cool. We recommend a jog-bra and/or tank with shorts or leggings for women. Just shorts and an optional loose tank for men.
  • Research – Before taking a class for the first time, take the time to read the class details including length, posture types, and heat level so you’re aware of the environment you’re entering.

These policies and tips are offered with your well-being in mind. Sometimes in class students can become unaware of their own condition and push a bit too hard and we are here to help. Remember, it’s never a problem to sit down, lie down, leave the room or otherwise ask for help!

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.

Namaste.

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Posture of the Week: Pranayama

Because of sedentary habits, most people use only ten percent of their lungs, never allowing the lungs too reach their maximum expansion capacity. As a result, they are susceptible to bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, shortness of breath, and dozens of other breathing problems. Standing Deep Breathing teaches you to use the other ninety percent of your lungs. This exercise should be done before any kind of physical activity because it expands the lungs to their full capacity, it increases circulation to the whole body, waking everything up and preparing the muscles for action.

Posture Tips:

  • Concentrate more on breathing through the throat than on what your arms and head are doing.
  • Be gentle when you push your head back, especially if you have any neck or shoulder pain. As you practice more, your neck will get more flexible but don’t rush the process.
  • As a beginner you may not be able to breathe in for 6 seconds. Don’t be discouraged. It takes time to learn how to control your breathing but with consistent practice not only will you be able to breathe in for 6 seconds, you will soon be able to breathe in even longer and you will notice a tremendous affect on your ability to focus and concentrate.
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5 Reasons why you NEED our Free App

1) It’s FREE

Who doesn’t like free things? Get your copy of the official Bikram Yoga NYC app by simply searching ‘bikram yoga nyc’ in your Apple or Android app store. Download, login and book a class. The app will remember your login too, so when you’re ready for another just open it and book one.

2) You can perform just about any transaction with it

Our state-of-the-art, managed app, is constantly being updated with new features. Currently, Version 3.0.1 of the app allows you to not only book classes, but also purchase packages, update your account info, cancel reservations, see your visit history, contact/call any of our locations and much more. Cut the cord and go mobile!

3) Guarantee your spot in any class – even our most popular

Sure, you might prefer booking on your desktop/laptop or walking in and booking a class, but what about when you’re on the go and want to get a spot in that popular evening class? Guarantee it anytime the urge to book strikes by firing up the app and booking in a few clicks. Never miss your preferred class time again.

4) It’ll make you sexy

Yes, you read that right. Downloading our app may increase the frequency of your visits to Bikram Yoga NYC. More visits means a healthier you and a healthy you is a sexy you. So, App = Sexy you!

5) Get out of the dark ages – the future is here!

Our analytics point to 62 out of 100 of our students reading our newsletters and visiting our website from a mobile device. And while our emails and website are both “mobile-friendly” why not step into the future and book exclusively with our app? Class bookings on our website using a mobile device can take up to a minute. In comparison, in our app it takes only 10 seconds.

The Bikram Yoga NYC App is available by searching your Apple or Android App store for ‘bikram yoga nyc’

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Classpass Unlmited Bikram Yoga

November 2nd, 2016 – Today Classpass notified it’s users the business was discontinuing their popular unlimited plan. The story was heavily reported on by organizations like CNN, Huffington Post, Fortune, MashableWell & Good and many more with many of it’s users taking to twitter and facebook to weigh in on the decision.

Here at Bikram Yoga NYC we’ve had a positive experience with classpass users and many seem to enjoy the sweat we offer in our traditional 90 minutes classes, our express 60 and 75 minute classes, our intermediate classes, intro to Bikram Yoga classes and most recently, our new Hot Pilates and Yin Nidra classes.

From the very beginning, Classpass limited it’s users to 3 classes per month at Bikram Yoga NYC as part of their core offering and that policy continues with their remaining two pricing plans, 5 and 10 class packs. At Bikram Yoga NYC we offer a variety of class card and unlimited plans to choose from, with some unlimited yoga plans coming in just over $100/month for anytime yoga.

Interested in learning more about our classes or packages? Drop us a note! We’d love to hear from you.

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5 Steps to Restoring Your Health

By Ania Dunlop from Food for Zen for Bikram Yoga NYC

Our health and wellbeing are, to a great extent, the result of our lifestyle choices. As we become responsible adults, it’s easy to loose oneself in the sea of responsibilities, childcare and work obligations. There comes a time when we become exhausted, unable to focus and it’s impossible to know how to feel better, clearer and hopeful again. I have outlined 5 steps to revitalize your health and life. You will notice that all 5 strategies are intertwined and one affects the other. These steps also build on each other, so start with the first and proceed to the next when you are ready. The best part is you can take your health into your own hands, become an “empowered participant” in your healing and start feeling better by making informed choices based on modern medicine and ancient healing techniques.

foodective

1. Become a food detective

Undiagnosed food sensitivities can have an effect on everything from your digestive system, joint health to emotional wellbeing. It can sap your energy, lower your immune function and leave you with dull skin and hair or acne. We learn to tolerate our annoying aches and pains and develop tolerance for feeling sub-optimally, but that’s not a way to live. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease (from skin conditions such as psoriasis to thyroid disorders), chronic fatigue, acne, headaches, anxiety, consider doing an elimination diet to find out what’s been bugging you. While the accuracy of testing for food sensitivities has improved recently, the only way you will know for sure if you are sensitive to a specific food is to eliminate it completely. Try eliminating the top allergens for 21 days: gluten, dairy, corn and soy (also nightshade vegetables if you have any join pain problem like rheumatoid arthritis). After 3 weeks, reintroduce these foods one by one over a period of 3 days and watch for symptoms. Eliminating offending foods is the easiest and most effective way to transform your health quickly. Plus it’s free!
healthyfood

 2. Heal your gut

If you have food sensitivities, eat a processed diet or have chronic stress in your life chances are your gastrointestinal system has been compromised. Many people today suffer from a “leaky gut”, where the intestinal barrier has become porous, allowing undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream. The body perceives the tiny food molecules as invaders and launches an immune response, which unfortunately results in chronic inflammation inside your body. While inflammation is a good thing when you cut yourself and your amazing body rushes to heal the site of the injury resulting in an inflamed red swelling swoop, chronic internal inflammation has been reported in current research as the source of most modern ailments such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Healing your gut involves removing foods you are sensitive to (see step 1), eating a clean, whole foods diet with lots of green vegetables and fermented foods, taking a good probiotic and supplementing with fish oil (Omega 3’s have been reported to significantly lower inflammation). You may also consider taking digestive enzymes to help you break down food and glutamine to repair your intestinal barrier.

adrenalhealth

3. Restore your adrenal health

The adrenals are tiny glands that sit on top of your kidneys and play a major function in helping your body cope with everyday stresses. The adrenal glands produce cortisol, among other hormones, which helps your body deal with stress. However, chronic stress, be it work related or a prolonged unresolved emotional situation, coupled with a nutrient poor diet, will exhaust your adrenals, which will in turn produce abnormal levels of cortisol and other adrenal hormones such as DHEA. Over time, your adrenal glands will have a hard time meeting the high cortisol demand. Without enough cortisol, you may experience poor immunity, fatigue, changes in blood sugar, depression, inability to cope with everyday life, insomnia, brain fog and food cravings. In a nutshell, you are exhausted, unable to make a simple decision and your health concerns keep piling on.

A discussion on adrenals would not be complete without touching on the thyroid since the two are directly linked. As adrenals become exhausted, thyroid function declines which may result in hypothyroidism, a condition where the body is not producing enough thyroid hormones. The symptoms are weight gain, fatigue, depression, hair loss, among others.

Restoring adrenal imbalances takes time and patience. It involves reflecting on your lifestyle and eliminating behaviors that might drain your energy. This might include reexamining your work, life’s purpose and your relationships. Sleeping 8 hours a night is a must. So is eating a nutrient rich diet with enough protein and minimal sugar, making time for meals sitting down, unrushed, chewing slowly. Finally, prioritizing self-care and de-stressing activities such as meditation are critical to healing.

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4. Balance your sex hormones

I am talking about testosterone, progesterone, estrogen here…balancing these hormones as you get older is the nirvana to rocking your health since it affects your moods, sleep, libido, skin and hair. Many women in North America are affected by estrogen dominance, a hormonal imbalance that leads to PMS, ovarian cysts, cystic breasts, acne and heavy periods. According to Dr. Northrop, estrogen dominance can also affect the thyroid, blocking the action of the thyroid hormone and possibly leading to mid life hypothyroidism (thyroid pops up again! I told you everything is intertwined). While diet and lifestyle play a role in estrogen dominance, so do environmental estrogens (plastics, cosmetics, pesticides), which are man made chemicals which mimic estrogen in the body and upset its delicate hormonal balance.

Since I want you to be an empowered rockstar, consider reading “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” by Dr. Christine Northrop and “The Hormone Cure” by Dr. Sarah Gottfried, both are fantastic reference books. Find an integrative practitioner to test your blood levels. Unfortunately, the conventional medical community rarely focuses on hormone balancing that does not involve drugs. The basis of healthy hormones is a diet full of green and cruciferous vegetables and sufficient protein from wild, free range animal sources (avoid commercially raised dairy and meat, which use synthetic hormones). Finally, a good supplementation program can put you back on track.

detox

5. Detoxify your life and save your liver

Our modern lifestyle exposes us to processed foods, chemicals in our cosmetics, heavy metals, toxins and candida from “living la vida loca”. The liver is the key organ for detoxification, including excess hormones, it breaks down estrogen and other hormones. However, a bad diet full of fat, sugar, alcohol and caffeine can compromise the liver’s ability to maintain a healthy hormonal balance.

Spring is a great time to incorporate a detox program and jump start your energy. While I am not advocating you live on juice for weeks at a time, consider giving up coffee, alcohol, sugar, gluten and dairy for a few weeks and upping your green vegetable intake. Drink warm water with half a lemon when you first wake up and sip dandelion tea a couple of times a day. You will notice that you will have a boost of energy and a greater sense of wellbeing. Post cleanse, incorporate a daily green juice ritual to get proper nutrition, get rid of toxic cosmetics and even more dangerous home cleaning products to avoid build up of toxins over time.

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Bikram Yoga & Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path of Yoga

Would you like a map for living in the world with ease?  

Chrystine Cooper has put together her interpretation of Patanjali’s teachings and how they integrate with and can deepen your Bikram Yoga practice. Patanjali is often credited as the author of the Yoga Sutras which can be viewed as a guidebook to greater happiness in your life.  These texts written nearly 2000 years ago still resonate to this day.  Climb as high as you want onto the Eight Fold Path, and watch it transform you.  Here are two links that will help explain how it works and start you on a deeper journey: 

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/yoga-101/beginning-journey
http://www.yogajournal.com/article/yoga-101/path-happiness

On the community board at each studio we will have this posted to help remind you of the steps and help make your practice that day a celebration of you.  


1st FoldYamas; moral imperatives.
How you treat others and your community.  The mirrors help remind us that we are all in this together, just like life.  Moving together and supporting each other creates an atmosphere of higher consciousness for us all.

2nd FoldNiyamas; how you treat yourself.
Your body is the temple for your soul.  Bikram yoga cleanses and nourishes you “inside out, bones to skin, fingertips to your toes.”  It is a total mind body workout.

3rd FoldAsanas; disciplined practice.
Patanjali wrote that “Asana is thus a posture that one can hold for a period of time, staying relaxed, steady, comfortable and motionless.”  Steady your gaze on one spot on your image in the mirror, move with the words, be diligent about your alignment and watch your practice transform as you gain a stronger mind body awareness.

4th FoldPranayama; awareness and control of breath.
Prana is often translated as ‘life-force’ and ayama  as ‘extension of’.  An awareness of your breathing has profound affects on your central nervous system as measured by the brain imaging capabilities of modern science.  The opening and closing breathing exercises in Bikram strengthen your respiratory system and improve stamina and the steady breathing through the nose throughout class will melt the stress away.

5th FoldPratyahara; withdrawal of the senses, freedom from cravings.
The more you practice you’ll discover that if you have applied the first four folds your willpower improves.  You’ll be able to resist the external ‘go to’ things when life’s waters get choppy.  You realize that the answers to your questions are inside you.  You are the one you have been waiting for.

6th FoldDharana; concentration.
Concentration is utilized throughout class, and the balancing series is where you begin to fuse your mind and body and concentrate on using your muscles to optimally support your skeletal structure.  You’ll discover this is the portal to transforming your class into a 90 minute meditation.  Still your body, still your mind.

7th FoldDhyana; mediation.
With your new concentration skills you will begin to move into a deeper moving meditation in class which will have profound impacts on your life outside the studio.  Patanjali wrote in the Sutras that ‘yogas is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind’.

8th FoldSamadhi; enlightenment.
Patanjali proposed that enlightenment could be experienced in delight within everyday occurrences, not just upon transcendence.  When you are doing something you really love to do, those are moments of samadhi to be savored.  The more you practice Bikram yoga the more blissful you’ll feel and the easier it will be to see moments of samadhi show up in your life.

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Posture of the Week: Final Savasana

Class is now over and your body is absorbing the effects of the practice and beginning to change – refreshing, revitalizing and reorganizing itself in every cell and molecule.

3 Tips for Final Savasana

  • TAKE IT! This is where your body, mind and sprit can relax and fully assimilate the benefits of your practice. As busy New Yorkers this may be your most challenging posture. Learn to embrace it. While teachers  allow students to leave after a two minute Savasana, it is recommended to stay 10-15 minutes to calm the nervous system and promote equanimity in the entire body. 
  • Scan your body for tension. Mentally run through all the parts of your body and allow them to sink into the floor. Be cognizant of tension that often accumulates in your jaw, shoulders, forehead and hips.
  • Breathe normally, find a comfortable position on your back (there’s no real form here, unlike the Savasana between standing and floor series) and close your eyes. While your body might be fatigued and amenable to relaxation, your mind can get in the way. Focus on your inhalation and exhalation to calm your mind. Avoid thinking about outside factors and future plans (what’s for dinner?). We know, we know, easier said than done!  
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Posture of the Week: Final Breathing

This last breathing exercise strengthens all the abdominal organs, increases the circulation and stimulates the digestive system. It makes the abdominal wall strong and trims the waistline. It also allows the body to release toxins through the respiratory system.

4 Tips for Final Breathing:

  • Keep your stomach relaxed and draw your belly in on the exhale. The inhale happens automatically.
  • Your spine should be straight; think of your arms like brackets holding you up (more than your abdomen and back). Elbows locked.
  • Avoid bouncing or any movement in the chest, shoulders, head. Just your belly moves on the exhale. 
  • Your mouth should be open, jaw relaxed. Avoid pursing your lips or tensing your face.
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Posture of the Week: Spine Twisting Pose

The only exercise that twists the spine from top to bottom at the same time. As a result, it increases circulation and nutrition to spinal nerves, veins, and tissues, and improves spinal elasticity and flexibility and the flexibility of the hip joints. It helps cure lumbago, rheumatism of the spine, improves digestion, removes flatulence from the intestines, and firms the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks.

  • Avoid sitting on your heel of the knee that is bent on the floor. Both sit-bones should be equally distributed on the floor. 
  • When you bring your arm up over your knee make sure that all three parts (hand, knee and heel) are touching on the same spot of the floor. 
  • Your buttocks, hips, sacrum and pelvis remain square to the side you are facing (left side in most cases); they are not involved in the twisting motion. The twist comes from the waist through the top of the head. Prior to turning it is important to lift your body up toward the ceiling and then twist. 
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Posture of the Week: Separate Head to Knee and Stretching Pose

This posture helps to balance the blood sugar level. It improves the flexibility of the sciatic nerves, ankles, knees and hip joints; improves digestion; enhances the proper functioning of the kidneys; and expands the solar plexus. Increases the flexibility of the trapezius, deltoid, erectus femoris, and bicep muscles, sciatic nerves, tendons, hip joints, and the last five vertebrae of the spine. Relieves chronic diarrhea by improving the circulation of the bowels. It also increases circulation to the liver and spleen and improves digestion.

4 Tips for this posture:

  • Keep in mind that with legs to either side your knee can be bent. The forehead-to-knee compression is paramount rather than having your leg straight. Furthermore, whether your knee is bent or straight your foot should always be flexed. 
  • During the compression portion of the posture, your shoulders and elbows are equally aligned over the leg that is out (i.e. leg facing the corner of the room). On the right side, think left elbow and shoulder down toward the floor, and the opposite for the left side.
  • With both legs forward it is important to contract your quadriceps BEFORE you begin to pull on your toes. If you’re unable to keep your knees locked avoid pulling and work on hamstring flexibility first.
  • As always, breath is key. Inhale while lifting and lengthening the spine, exhale as you stretch forward and work toward touching your forehead to your toes.